Writing Assignment: Notice The Beauty Around You

by Randy Murray on November 11, 2011

There are many things to learn to become a better writer. Among the most basic, the most important, is the ability to see, to listen, to feel, to sense.

In almost every place or situation there is beauty to see around you if you take the time to look, to listen, to sense your surroundings. The smallest object, nature itself, can provide endless beauty and fascination, if you’ll but see for yourself. Let your fingers tell you about the amazing textures within reach. Let your ears reveal the wondrous harmonies. Let your nose seek out the mysteries of things unseen, hidden, unknown.

And then write about what you’ve experienced.

Yesterday Penny, my friend and editor, wrote to me about sorting Lentilles Du Puy. Here’s what she had to say:

To sort them, I pour a small amount of lentils onto a clear glass plate, and shake the plate slightly, so all the lentils on the plate form a single layer.  I hold the plate over a white surface, which shows the lentils clearly (stones and foreign objects are usually not as perfectly round as the lentils).  I look at them closely from above, too, under the skylight.

And that’s how far I had gotten with the first plateful when I noticed that the lentils, this particular kind of lentils, which I like a lot, are as marbled and varicolored as the gorgeous stones one can find at the seaside. Stones that have been tossed around in the waves and onto the beach.  Beautiful, amazingly complex, variegated and marbled patterns on the lentils – and tiny, so tiny, that it would be easy to just pour the lentils from the plate into the pot and not notice all that amazing beauty, right in front of you.

There is beauty all around you. And you, as a writer, should be devoted to exploring it with all of your senses.

For today’s assignment, look for the beauty around you, where you are at this moment. Select just one thing and write two full paragraphs exploring the beauty of this thing.

Repeat this assignment often.


You may leave your completed assignment in the comments section below.

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The Writing Assignment: Notice The Beauty Around You by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Mari November 11, 2011 at 11:52 am

Autumn leaves lay glued in place atop my moss garden. Not everywhere though. My blowing and raking has had some effect on minimizing the depth of their piles. Vibrant emerald green moss pokes through the crisp brown curly-ques just enough to remind me that Spring will eventually triumph over Winter.

I can see the moss garden through several windows from either above it or directly parallel. Each view creates variations in nature’s color palette, but none more vibrant than viewing the moss up close. When I get my eyes as close to the moss as possible (how else do you think the summer moss garden remains free from debris like seeds, stems, and weeds?) it is then that its delicate fractal-like details explode in color and texture. Green from afar is actually the combination of yellows and blues up close. Velvet from above denies the presence of intricate nooks and crannies. The softness of the moist moss against my fingertips is unforgettable even now as my cold fingers clickety-clack against the keyboard.


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